Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Weight Loss Has Gone To The Dogs

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for spring and warmer weather! I’ve noticed over the last couple of weeks, while I’m taking my dog out for a walk, that there are more and more people out walking their dogs. The dogs look and act like they’ve been released from a torturous winter indoors. I started to think about what the life of a dog looks like and realized we can learn a lot from them and apply it to a weight loss routine. I know it may sound silly, but when you observe their diet, exercise and sleep patterns, they have the keys to a healthy lifestyle.

First, let’s look at the food. First of all, there are the ingredients of dog food. In reading the ingredients for the food my dog eats, it includes things like salmon, rice, oatmeal and what appears to be a canine version of a multivitamin. It’s a balanced meal in one spot. Then, us humans portion it out for them. Whether the dog is a grazer or eats the bowl in one “sitting,” they have the opportunity to get the right amount of food. Then, there is the issue of treats. For dogs, we give them treats sparingly, every once in awhile. They typically get excited about a treat and it’s an important event they look forward to. Imagine if a human were to treasure a “treat” that way. And what happens when our dogs get fat? We decrease the portion size of good food, so they still get the nutrients and watch the amount of treats. Seems pretty simple, but then someone else does all this for them. For the humans, we can use the same approach: eat a balanced diet, watch portion size and have treats in moderation.

So I mentioned that more dogs are out and about these days. Quick question for you: how many times have you seen a dog NOT want to go for a walk or go to the park or join you hiking? They love to exercise, move around and even play with other dogs. Some time running around in the sun or jumping through water on a hot day and look like they are having the time of their life. Dogs know how to enjoy exercise. This one is probably the most difficult for humans to follow. My suggestion would be to find some type of exercise you thoroughly enjoy, whether it’s walking around a park, riding bikes or taking a Zumba class, maybe find a friend to join you for motivation!

Finally, there is the sleep component. When dogs are tired, they find a comfy place, lie down and go to sleep. Being the busy humans we are, sleep is often further down on the priority list, even behind exercise. Getting adequate rest is important for weight loss, since you need to recharge those batteries for another day.

For those of you that don’t know, I have a little dog named Izzy. She is five pounds (small for her breed) and skinny. She hates carbs, her favorite foods are salmon, shrimp and steak, she spins in circles everywhere she goes and curls up for naps about four times a day. I’m trying to adopt the Izzy way of life, except for the spinning – I’d get dizzy so I’ll just exercise a little more.

So let your weight loss go to the dogs!